Offense, pitching key in Muskies sweep of Lions

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The Lakeland College baseball team won its home opener on Saturday with a sweep of the visiting Lions of Finlandia University.

The Muskies (8-3) continued to hit the ball well and got two stellar performances on the mound.

In game one, sophomore Derek Loomans (3-0, 1.50) took the ball and pitched a complete-game, allowing one unearned run on four hits. The Brandon, Wis., native got into trouble in the second inning, but escaped a bases loaded jam with just one run allowed.

The offense provided plenty of support for the 6-foot-3 right hander, scoring 15 runs on 11 hits, while also committing one error, which led to the Lions only run. Lakeland was able to put up a crooked number in the first, second and sixth innings, something they have grown accustomed to early on this season.

Two hits and an error in the first led to the first three Lakeland runs, with Mike Ruzek (Manitowoc, Wis.) and David Cherney (Green Bay, Wis.) each collecting an RBI. In the second inning, the Muskies tallied five runs on two hits, with Garrett Morris (Janesville, Wis.) and Cherney each singling, colleting two RBIs each. A Ruzek double down the left field line scored two runs to cap a six run sixth inning, which sealed the game.

Ruzek finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, while Morris finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Cherney continued to swing the bat well, going 2-for- 4 with four RBIs and one run scored.

In game two, junior Andy Chitwood (3-0, 3.10) was asked to continue the Muskies solid pitching and he did not disappoint. The Muscoda, Wis., native also threw a complete-game, allowing one unearned run on five hits, while striking out seven.

Lakeland scored runs in the first four innings, aided by six Finlandia errors, to earn their eighth victory of the season.

With a 5-0 lead and just three hits, the Muskies broke the game open in the fourth, scoring four runs on four hits, led by Ryan Boettcher (Bonduel, Wis.). The sophomore shortstop doubled to right center to score two runs. Ruzek and Boettcher traded places as Ruzek doubled to right field on the next pitch. A botched double-play allowed Ruzek to score and extend the Muskie lead to 9-0. The Lions would get one run on two hits and an error in the sixth, but couldn't put together a rally.

Ruzek and Boettcher did the heavy lifting as each tallied two RBIs and scored a run. Boettcher finished 2-for-3, while Ruzek was 1-for-2. Freshman leadoff hitter Nate Soley (Milwaukee, Wis.) led the team with two hits and also scored two runs.

Lakeland returns to action on Tuesday, March 27, as the Muskies host Cardinal Stritch University in non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Videos will be posted tomorrow.